Monday, 15 June 2015

Return to the Reformation: Part Two

        As was mentioned in an earlier post, I and my family are traveling to Europe in two days(on June 17th).  I also wrote that I would tell you where I was going, but more importantly, why.  As I learned during the last trip I was on in Europe, there are two questions which were being asked in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries, and which are still being asked today.  These two questions are very important ones, and ones which each of us must answer.  They are as follows: Can sinful man be reconciled and justified before a holy and righteous God; and, if so, how is that made possible?
        The Roman Catholic church, beginning in the Medieval Ages, had slipped away from the pure Gospel of salvation by grace, and faith in Christ alone, so that by the time of the late 15th century, there was a period of spiritual darkness across Europe.  The Church taught that in order to be freed from your sin, you had to do many different things to pay for your wrongdoing - things such as doing penance or paying money for an indulgence.*  Also, they did not read or allow the Bible to be read in the language of the people, which lead to a hiding of the Gospel so that the average person did not know, and to a degree, could not find out for himself the truth of the Gospel.
        The Reformers, on the other hand, spoke against this, saying that nothing we can do makes us acceptable to God, and therefore we must place our hope for salvation from sin only and fully in Christ.  They also realized the importance of having copies of the Bible in the language of the people so they could read and learn for themselves the truths contained in Scripture.  Men like John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, and Martin Luther made great effort to translate the Bible into English and German, and other men did the same in other languages.
        The result of this was that, unlike the Roman Catholic Church, which answered the two questions with a "Yes, but . . ." ". . . you must work hard to be acceptable to God", the Reformers answered the questions with a, "Yes, because . . ." ". . . of the atonement that Christ made on the cross for your sins, you can be fully justified before God."  It is not by anything we can do that we are made righteous before God - it is upon the saving work of Christ we trust and thereby believing, we may have life in his name.
     So why are we going to Europe?  To trace the Reformation of the Church through the lives of men whom God called to preach the Gospel of Grace; to see how God works his plan of salvation throughout history; and to learn that nothing we do can save us from hell, but that God sent Jesus Christ to die once and for all who have faith in Him, and that when he comes again, if we trust in his work, and not our own, we will live with him in eternal happiness, for his praise and glory.

I will write again when I return - in a few weeks,

I Gogoniant Crist,
William A Moore

* An 'Indulgence' was a supposed remission of sin granted by a church official.

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